Kathmandu, November 14
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority arrested eight persons, including four government officials, for bribery in the past two days.
The anti-graft body held Section Officer Shukra Prasad Bhattarai of Transport Management Office in Kathmandu with bribe of Rs 3,000 he had received from representatives of auto-reconditioning houses for facilitating them to transfer ownership of motorcycles.
Joint Secretary Pradip Kumar Koirala, the CIAA spokesperson, said Bhattarai along with Kiran Deula, Uttam Bikram Shahi, Ramesh
Kumar KC Khadka and Suresh Chhusyaki, who offered the bribe to Bhattarai, were also taken into custody for legal action. He said both the bribe receiver and givers were arrested red-handed from the TMO premises.
TMO was among the top 14 government offices categorically identified by a report of the CIAA as the most corruption-sensitive government bodies where services were often denied without bribe. According to a study on ‘Status of Corruption and Good Governance in Nepal-2019’, the amount of bribe money to be offered or received to the concerned officials was contingent on the nature of service. Corruption is rampant in TMO for vehicle registration, issuance and renewal of driving licence, distribution and renewal of blue book and ownership transfer of vehicle.
In January, the CIAA had filed a charge-sheet against eight officials of Lalitpur TMO at the Special Court for their alleged involvement in corruption. They had issued driving licences to 629 persons, who did not even attend the trial exam or failed to go through it. In separate operation, the anti-graft body arrested Section Manager Alok Kumar and senior storekeeper Ram Babu Mahato of Janakpur-based Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd for their involvement in financial irregularities and bribery during auction of paddy of different varieties. The duo were taken into custody after a CIAA team confiscated disproportionate amount of Rs 68,000 from the office chamber of Mahato.
Informer Dharmendra Kumar Jha in Saptari District Office of National Investigation Department was held after he was found receiving Rs 5,000 from a person with the promise of helping him for cross-border smuggling of goods. Jha was assigned to carry out his duty of collecting intelligence against cross-border smuggling in Kankalini and Tilathi Koiladi rural municipalities of Saptari, bordering India.
The CIAA has said it would file charge-sheets against all eight persons following necessary inquiry into the cases.
A version of this article appears in print on November 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.